Interboro Partners “Holding Pattern” winner of the 2011 Young Architects Program at the P.S.1


As we reported weeks ago, three New York firms, one Boston firm and one British firm were competing for the 2011 summer installation of the Young Architects Program at the MoMA P.s.1.

Today, Interboro Partners was announced as the winner with their entry Holding Pattern.

The NY firm, formed by Tobias Armborst, Daniel D’Oca, and Georgeen Theodore, not only managed to meet the YAP’s budget and programatic requirements, but also established a dialogue with the neighbors, which resulted in a scheme that doesn’t so much redesign the courtyard as reveal it.

A series of meetings with a nearby taxi company, and also with senior and day care centers, high schools, settlement houses, and the local YMCA, library, and greenmarket (among others) led to a design that includes a series of eclectic objects (benches, mirrors, ping-pong tables, and floodlights) under a very elegant and taut canopy of rope strung from MoMA PS1’s wall to the parapet across the courtyard. These objects will be recycled and given to these groups, further extending the reach of the project to the neighborhood.

More details about Holding Pattern after the break.

Expect a complete coverage of the finalists and the built installation as we have done in previous years: WORK ac‘s P.F.1. Public Farm 1 in 2008, MOSAfterparty in 2009, and SO-IL‘s Pole Dance in 2010.


© Interboro Partners

Time and circumstance had its way with MoMA PS1′s courtyard, which in an ideal world would be shaped like a rectangle but which is in reality an irregular seven-sided polygon. Thanks to its neighbor, 2201 Jackson Avenue, which managed to muscle its way into MoMA PS1′s courtyard, and to Jackson Avenue itself, which chopped off the block’s southwestern corner, Warm Up has had to make do with a very odd, idiosyncratic space. The stairs in front of Warm Up’s stage suggest that people should watch the audience instead of the performers, entering the museum feels like being backstage with the band, and the backdoor has been repurposed as the main entry. But as the best baseball stadiums demonstrate, having to make do with less-than-ideal conditions can yield positive outcomes.

© Interboro Partners
© Interboro Partners
© Interboro Partners
© Interboro Partners

“Holding Pattern” reveals this situation by stringing ropes from holes in MoMA PS1′s concrete wall to the parapet across the courtyard. In the same way that Hugh Ferris reveals the potential of New York City’s 1916 zoning code by drawing the theoretical building envelope, we reveal the very odd, idiosyncratic space of the courtyard and simultaneously create an inexpensive and column-free space for the activity below. From the ground, the experience is of a soaring hyperboloid surface.

© Interboro Partners


© Interboro Partners

Takis is the owner of Checker Management, a taxi cab company located across the street from MoMA PS1. Takis leases 150 cabs to 300 drivers, who show up every day between 4:00 and 6:00 to pick up their cab, gas it up, and perform routine maintenance. In the summer, when the weather is nice, Takis sets up a makeshift outdoor plaza for his employees. The plastic tables, chairs, and tent are used by the drivers to sit, talk, and-on weekends in the summer-watch the throngs of people who pour into MoMA PS1 for the Warm-Up.

© Interboro Partners

“It’s not much, but I do what I can to keep my drivers happy,” Takis told us.

As finalists of MoMA PS1′s Young Architect’s competition, our task is of course to think about how to keep Warm Up’s patrons happy. But as Takis’s story suggests, Warm-Up’s programmatic requirements seating, shade, and a water feature-sometimes overlap with the needs of Warm Up’s neighbors.

© Interboro Partners

“Holding Pattern” is a new take on recycling. For it, we talked to as many of MoMA PS1′s neighbors as we could. In addition to cab drivers, we met with senior and day care centers, high schools, settlement houses, and the local YMCA, library, and greenmarket (to name just a few). We simply asked each one: is there something you need that we could design, use in the courtyard during the Warm Up, then donate in the fall, once the Warm Up is over?

© Interboro Partners

The result is an eclectic collection of objects-including benches, mirrors, ping-pong tables, and flood lights-that we never would have thought to include, but that both enhance the Warm Up’s program, and strengthen MoMA PS1′s ties to its neighborhood.

© Interboro Partners

Tobias Armborst (Principal), Daniel D’Oca (Principal), Georgeen Theodore (Principal), Rebecca Beyer Winik (Project Manager), Kathleen Cahill, Cristobal Correa (Structural Engineer), Andrew Coslow, Jenessa Frey, Lesser Gonzalez, David Himelman, Jenna Kaminsky, Brian Novello, Joel Okpala, Carsten Rodin, Becky Slogeris, Jeff Thompson (Structural Engineer)

Special thanks:
Bancker Construction Corporation, Benjamin Ball, Buro Happold, Hillary Sample, NJIT Modelshop, Valerie Moss (Citibank), Takis (Checker Management) Veronica Franklin, William T. Newlin (Jacob Riis Settlement House), Eric Ragan (LIC Ballet), Irina (LIC Kids), Cedrick Green (YMCA), Chelsea Whittaker (Greenmarket), Meres (5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center), Paul Finnegan (New York Irish Center), Kryss Shane (Ravenswood NORC)

Cite: Basulto, David. "Interboro Partners “Holding Pattern” winner of the 2011 Young Architects Program at the P.S.1" 16 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Sep 2014. <>


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